Plan to protect your home and yourself in case of a...

Plan to protect your home and yourself in case of a natural disaster, experts say Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto/mokee81

Between the hurricanes and winter weather on the horizon, you need a plan for protecting your home and your finances from Mother Nature.

Survey your surroundings: “Understand hurricane-strength wind can enter the house through the garage, which could lead to huge expenses.  Roofs are vulnerable during harsh environmental conditions such as hurricanes," says Alexander Romanov, co-founder of Straps and roof clips can be tested to the limits, he says; check them to ensure they are in good shape.

Insulate basement and crawl space pipes to prevent burst pipes. During temperatures below freezing, allow warm air to flow around pipes by opening cabinet doors.

Expect the worst: Research how much it would cost to evacuate your area (gas, hotel, food) and withdraw that cash before the hurricane hits. In the event the electricity cuts out, you’ll need it because ATMs will be down.

“In the event of a hurricane, have at least three to six months of living expenses saved,” says Val Kay, chief credit officer at LendingClub in Manhattan.

Safeguard copies of financial papers. Key documents include your Social Security card, home deeds, insurance documents, and medical insurance cards. Keep copies of the originals in a folder and stash them in your Go Bag to take in the event of an evacuation. Also save images of these documents in the cloud.

Review your insurance policy: Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. You could have thousands of dollars in costs for damages you thought were covered. Also, take an inventory of all the valuable contents of your home; this will make your claim process smoother when you file.

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